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V-280 wins US ARMY FLRAA contract

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V-280 wins US ARMY FLRAA contract

Old 22nd Apr 2023, 21:21
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Originally Posted by Commando Cody
Take this for what it's worth, but I have heard from multiple sources that when it was announced at Bell that Boeing would not be a partner on Valor, there was actual cheering.
Bell played hardball on teaming negotiations and drove Boeing to look for other options... this was one of the strategic masterstrokes that helped secure a Bell victory, frankly. The counterpoint to the cheering at Bell was the wailing and gnashing of teeth at Sikorsky when that partnership was announced.
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Old 23rd Apr 2023, 19:40
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Bell played hardball on teaming negotiations and drove Boeing to look for other options....
I heard a different background story. In early 2012, when Boeing and Bell were still teamed on the proposal for what was to evolve into FLRAA, Bell got uneasy, sensing that Boeing was up to something.

About seven years earlier, Bell was teamed with Boeing on the JHL (Joint Heavy Lift) proposal. Bell was obligated to team with Boeing on any tiltrotor configuration by contract. Half way through the proposal development, Boeing was running months late on delivery of their assigned sections. When the Boeing sections arrived, they were garbage. To salvage the proposal, Bell was forced to rewrite much of the Boeing content.

Just prior to the JHL proposal submission deadline, Bell discovered that Boeing had set up a second engineering team, to submit an all Boeing proposal for a huge Chinook configuration. Boeing engineering manpower had been diverted from the joint proposal with Bell, to ensure success of the Boeing only proposal.

On FLRAA in mid 2012, when Boeing started failing to meet schedule on their proposal commitments, Bell formed teams to write all of the Boeing content. When Boeing found this out, they protested at the CEO level, and finally began to submit their proposal content. But again, what Boeing submitted was garbage.

For the FLRAA demonstrator aircraft, Boeing insisted that only a modified full size V-22 could meet the Army schedule. This meant that the demonstrator aircraft would be approximately 125% the scale of the production aircraft. Additionally, Boeing stated that a fixed engine configuration was not possible due to system integration issues.

The final decision by Boeing to break from Bell came after Boeing was required to contractually make a financial commitment.

Based on Boeing’s duplicitous behavior on the JHL proposal, it was no surprise that soon after parting ways with Bell, the Sikorsky/Boeing teaming was announced. Teaming with Sikorsky, Boeing was only required to make a substantial financial commitment after the contract was awarded.

Regardless, most Bell engineers were very happy when Boeing left the program. And are even happier now.

Last edited by CTR; 25th Apr 2023 at 21:46.
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Old 23rd Apr 2023, 19:56
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Bell winning FLRAA has made Textron an attractive take over candidate. Don't believe that the big boys aren't aware of this. You don't buy Bell, you merge with Textron by legally bribing Textron's CEO. Then sell or spinoff the rest of Textron.
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Old 23rd Apr 2023, 20:41
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Originally Posted by CTR
I agree, Boeing Philly is not dead, yet. But their clean sheet, new platform design capabilities are gone. The Comanche was designed over 25 years ago.

Boeing’s primary contribution on FLRAA was political, not technical or financial. Boeing’s lobbyists and PR departments probably billed more hours than their engineering.

Boeing has now lost all hope for any FLRAA content (talk about betting on the wrong horse). Meanwhile, FARA has been delayed, likely grown is size, and probably changed to twin engine. This makes FARA more of a direct competitor to the Boeing Apache, than a Kiowa replacement.

So when the final FARA RFP is released, this contract may become a three way competition between Sikorsky, Bell, and Boeing. With Boeing proposing an upgraded Apache.

Regarding Boeing acquiring Bell, or Textron. Scary thought.
I guess it was no surprise when Boeing offering to FARA was dropped then, mind you the design looked quite simple and conventional...

What was the official reason for either Boeing dropped or pulled out of FARA?

cheers
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Old 23rd Apr 2023, 20:50
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Originally Posted by chopper2004
I guess it was no surprise when Boeing offering to FARA was dropped then, mind you the design looked quite simple and conventional...

What was the official reason for either Boeing dropped or pulled out of FARA?

cheers
The US Army only selected two companies to build prototype aircraft for the fly off. Boeing‘s proposal didn’t make the cut. However, if the final design requirement differ significantly from the prototype requirements, Boeing may file a protest to re-enter the competition.
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Old 24th Apr 2023, 00:21
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Originally Posted by chopper2004
I guess it was no surprise when Boeing offering to FARA was dropped then, mind you the design looked quite simple and conventional...

What was the official reason for either Boeing dropped or pulled out of FARA?

cheers
Boeing's FARA wasn't simple or conventional. It was a thrust compounded single main rotor helicopter which is more complex than Bell's lift compounded design. Both are simpler than Sikorsky's Raider-X. My view is that the Army is giving Sikorsky as many chances as possible to show some success with an X-2 platform and picked a no-kidding low risk design as the alternate. Not only was Boeing's configuration not the lowest risk, but there is no track record of getting a demonstrator/prototype put together on time. Bell also had that going for them.
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Old 24th Apr 2023, 06:55
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Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
Bell winning FLRAA has made Textron an attractive take over candidate. Don't believe that the big boys aren't aware of this. You don't buy Bell, you merge with Textron by legally bribing Textron's CEO. Then sell or spinoff the rest of Textron.
Textron's 2022 total revenues were 20.5 times what its defense revenues were and when many companies were showing a decline in revenue it ha nearly 4% growth. It might look desirable to some but my point is that it doesn't seem all that interested in being acquired.


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Old 24th Apr 2023, 07:06
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Boeing's FARA wasn't simple or conventional. It was a thrust compounded single main rotor helicopter which is more complex than Bell's lift compounded design. Both are simpler than Sikorsky's Raider-X. My view is that the Army is giving Sikorsky as many chances as possible to show some success with an X-2 platform and picked a no-kidding low risk design as the alternate. Not only was Boeing's configuration not the lowest risk, but there is no track record of getting a demonstrator/prototype put together on time. Bell also had that going for them.
Boeing and Sikorsky indeed proposed more complex compound helicopters while Bell proposed an advanced, but conventional, helicopter, the only non-compound submitted by the original five respondents. What's interesting is that Boeing's concept used the same type of compound propulsion configuration used by Lockheed in the AAFSS competition which resulted in the AH-56 while Karem's design used the concept proposed by Sikorsky in their bid for the same program.
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Old 24th Apr 2023, 07:09
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Boeing's FARA wasn't simple or conventional. It was a thrust compounded single main rotor helicopter which is more complex than Bell's lift compounded design. Both are simpler than Sikorsky's Raider-X. My view is that the Army is giving Sikorsky as many chances as possible to show some success with an X-2 platform and picked a no-kidding low risk design as the alternate. Not only was Boeing's configuration not the lowest risk, but there is no track record of getting a demonstrator/prototype put together on time. Bell also had that going for them.
I suspect that's the same reason that Karem and AVX didn't make the cut.
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Old 25th Apr 2023, 17:13
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Perhaps Sikorsky will have a chance with Raider X as I mentioned in my thread, that they are stating that the Raider X is perfect for the Indo-Pacific region

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us...u2LU8FR4pvmNvU

Maybe the DoD will give them a crack at the whip and give them FARA...

Also re X" tech, the Italians are keen on partnering with Sikorsky on using the tech for their next gen of rotary wing platforms...so all may be not lost with the X2.

cheers


Last edited by chopper2004; 25th Apr 2023 at 17:33.
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Old 25th Apr 2023, 20:51
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Originally Posted by chopper2004
Perhaps Sikorsky will have a chance with Raider X as I mentioned in my thread, that they are stating that the Raider X is perfect for the Indo-Pacific region

https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us...u2LU8FR4pvmNvU

Maybe the DoD will give them a crack at the whip and give them FARA...

Also re X" tech, the Italians are keen on partnering with Sikorsky on using the tech for their next gen of rotary wing platforms...so all may be not lost with the X2.

cheers
Well, when you're trying to sell something, you'll say it's perfect for whatever you hope you can get someone to pay for it.

For Sikorsky to win FARA, they're going to have to reliably show enough extra capability to overcome the technology's greater complexity and cost.

As for Italy partnering with Sikorsky, if they don't win FARA one wonders if they'd be willing to pay what it would cost to bring X2 to satisfactory levels. Last year one Italian defense official was quoted as saying she had reservations about Tilt-Rotor. The reason he gave clearly indicated he had probably been given information from a source that let's just say had a vested interest in not being a fan of Tilt-Rotor technology. More recently, at a February European defense conference, both the Italian Army and Air Force described the need for a Tilt-Rotor with a 250 knot cruise speed. This might also be included in the Army's Esercito 4.0 future model.
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Old 25th Apr 2023, 21:44
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Configurations

To paraphrase a famous UK Prime Minister:

“The Tiltrotor is a horrible aircraft configuration, except when compared against all other alternatives”
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Old 26th Apr 2023, 20:06
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If Sikorsky doesn’t win FARA, X-2 Technology is dead for another few decades until people forget why it died in the first place… again. I don’t see any European group being willing the fund the further development of a concept that lost not one, but two recent US Army contracts.
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Old 26th Apr 2023, 23:08
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Bell added a second smaller engine to their version of FARA. The GE engine appears to be too small for the Sikorsky FARA. Sikorsky could lose because the Army forced them to use too small of an engine.
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Old 27th Apr 2023, 00:40
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Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
Bell added a second smaller engine to their version of FARA. The GE engine appears to be too small for the Sikorsky FARA. Sikorsky could lose because the Army forced them to use too small of an engine.
Plenty of us expect that the final FARA production proposal will allow twin ITE configurations, which will enable more powerful aircraft with greater growth potential... and definitely butt up against upgraded Apache capabilities. So regardless of how well (or not) Raider-X's competitive prototype flies, Sikorsky would once again be looking at scaling up an aircraft from demonstrator to production and having to answer questions about X-2 scalability. The S-97 is NOT an 80% scale model of a twin ITE FARA. I suspect it's closer to a 50% scale by gross weight.
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Old 27th Apr 2023, 03:41
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Plenty of us expect that the final FARA production proposal will allow twin ITE configurations, which will enable more powerful aircraft with greater growth potential... and definitely butt up against upgraded Apache capabilities. So regardless of how well (or not) Raider-X's competitive prototype flies, Sikorsky would once again be looking at scaling up an aircraft from demonstrator to production and having to answer questions about X-2 scalability. The S-97 is NOT an 80% scale model of a twin ITE FARA. I suspect it's closer to a 50% scale by gross weight.
The Defiant X used two 5000 shp Lycoming T55 engines. Growth was slated to go to 7500 shp.
S97 9000 lbs gvw 2600 shp
S97X 16000 lb gvw 3000 shp
Invictus ?gvw 3600 shp
525 21000 lb gvw 3600 shp
Apache 18000 lb gvw 4000 shp
S97X twin engine ?gvw 6000 shp
Defiant X 30000 lb gvw 15000 shp

Invictus with 2 crew capability, weighs less than the Bell 525 with its 19 passenger capability. It will have the same total engine hp. It should have no problem exceeding the Army minimum speed requirement.
Raider X did not get enough engine to match the original S97 power to weight ratio. Not that the max speed demonstrated by the S97 was that special.
A twin engine FARA would have 6000 shp using the GE engine.

Last edited by noneofyourbusiness; 27th Apr 2023 at 03:44. Reason: formatting
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Old 27th Apr 2023, 08:37
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Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
Bell added a second smaller engine to their version of FARA. The GE engine appears to be too small for the Sikorsky FARA. Sikorsky could lose because the Army forced them to use too small of an engine.
Sikorsky wasn't "...forced to use to small of an an engine" unless you say both competitors were"forced". In the basic RFP it said that the aircraft should be designed to use a single ITE . That was the criteria.

What Bell did was for their APU they used the PW207D1 used in their 429. The innovation for Invictus is that for certain conditions when needed, they designed a way for it to be temporarily coupled to the main transmission for a time. When so coupled the 360 gets an effecive ~20% increase in power available to the rotor. Sort of like the effect of an afterburner.
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Old 27th Apr 2023, 08:54
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Originally Posted by SplineDrive
Plenty of us expect that the final FARA production proposal will allow twin ITE configurations, which will enable more powerful aircraft with greater growth potential... and definitely butt up against upgraded Apache capabilities. So regardless of how well (or not) Raider-X's competitive prototype flies, Sikorsky would once again be looking at scaling up an aircraft from demonstrator to production and having to answer questions about X-2 scalability. The S-97 is NOT an 80% scale model of a twin ITE FARA. I suspect it's closer to a 50% scale by gross weight.
If Army changes the requirements to allow two engines, the whole program collapses. Boeing, Karem and AVX will come back and say, "Well, if we had been allowed to use two engines, our designs would have been more competitive, so we're heading over to GAO to protest the awards to Bell and Sikorsky.. .and they'd win.

Going to two engines would add weight, increase fuel consumption possibly reduce range, etc. Still, Army is going to have to compromise somewhere for either of these designs to meet all the specs.

USMC found themselves in a similar situation with their MUX program when the prospective bidders came back and said that at this time, a vehicle that could meet all the requirement couldn't be built and so USMC canceled the program.
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Old 27th Apr 2023, 21:20
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The Bell Invictus should be able to meet all requirements. Guessing a 12000-14000 lb gross weight with as much hp as the much larger 20000 lb Bell 525.

The Defiant X needed 10000 hp to "go fast", with a planned increase to 15000 hp. So 30000lb/10000 hp = 3lb/hp. Raider X would then need 16000lb/3 or approximately 5300 hp. It only has 3000 hp. The Sikorsky X2 had 6000lb/1800 hp = approximately 3.3 lb/hp. Raider X is trying to haul 16000 lb/3000 hp or 5.33 lb/hp.

Raider X may not be faster than the Invictus, and may even be slower. Then Raider X loses because of increased complexity and weight for no gain. Therefore Sikorsky has a strong incentive to start over with a twin engine design.

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Old 28th Apr 2023, 03:59
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Originally Posted by noneofyourbusiness
The Bell Invictus should be able to meet all requirements. Guessing a 12000-14000 lb gross weight with as much hp as the much larger 20000 lb Bell 525.

The Defiant X needed 10000 hp to "go fast", with a planned increase to 15000 hp. So 30000lb/10000 hp = 3lb/hp. Raider X would then need 16000lb/3 or approximately 5300 hp. It only has 3000 hp. The Sikorsky X2 had 6000lb/1800 hp = approximately 3.3 lb/hp. Raider X is trying to haul 16000 lb/3000 hp or 5.33 lb/hp.

Raider X may not be faster than the Invictus, and may even be slower. Then Raider X loses because of increased complexity and weight for no gain. Therefore Sikorsky has a strong incentive to start over with a twin engine design.
Max. allowable weight for FARA has been specified by Army.

Regarding power requirements, I don't know about Sikorsky, but Bell publicly stated where their power requirement came from. For FLRAA Army had stringent Hot and High HOGE requirements. For Bell that drove the required power for Valor. With that kind of power, the speed expectation came out at 280 knots, hence the name. As it turned out V-280 was able to go 25 knots faster than that. Sikorsky may have determined Defiant-X's power requirements the same way.

Your calculations may very well be spot on. If Raider-X turns out slower, I don't think it can win except on industrial policy grounds. Aside from how far behind Army schedule it would put Sikorsky, since the Army specified one ITEP engine only for main power, Sikorsky really doesn't have an option to go to a twin. Plus, as I stated elsewhere, if Sikorsky was allowed to go to two engines, the whole FARA competition collapses and Army has to start over with a new RFP on which everyone can bid. They're already on slippery grounds with the specs as is.
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